If your mum’s a reader, we have a lovely lot of books you can choose a gift from for Mother’s Day on May 8.
There’s everything from heart-wrenching fiction and touching memoirs to funny commentary about motherhood so there’s bound to be something for every type of mum.
Crush: Writers Reflect On Love, Longing, And The Lasting Power Of Their First Celebrity Crush
Editors: Cathy Alter & Dave Singleton
Publisher: William Morrow, nonfiction
Do you know your mum’s teen crush? If not, this will soon have her confessing all! This collection of essays from acclaimed authors and celebrities – Stephen King, James Franco, Jodi Picoult, Andrew McCarthy, to name a few – is filled with funny, touching and sometimes cringe-inducing stories about that first crush you never forget.
Franco got into acting because of his obsession with River Phoenix, for Picoult, there was no one but Donny Osmond, and respectable Barbara Graham actually stalked Paul Newman at his New York City apartment … this book is bound to send mum off on a lovely trip down memory lane.
I Shall Be Near To You
Author: Erin Lindsay McCabe
Publisher: Crown, fiction
In this poignant historical love story set during the American Civil War in the 1860s, our protagonist Rosetta does it like Mulan: When her new husband enlists in the army, she decides that her true place is by his side, come hell or high water, and she disguises herself as a man so she can fight beside him. Inspired by over 200 documented stories of real-life women who fought in the war disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You gives voice to those women through the strong-willed Rosetta.
Mom & Me & Mom
Author: Maya Angelou
Publisher: Random House, nonfiction
Legendary literary star Maya Angelou wrote several bestselling autobiographies about her extraordinary life before her death in 2014. This, though, is arguably one of her most personal, as she shares the deepest relationship she had in her life, the one with her mother, the indomitable Vivian Baxter. Baxter was absent during much of Angelou’s early life, having famously sent a three-year-old Angelou and her older brother to live with their grandmother. The feeling of being abandoned stayed with Angelou until a painful reunion many years later. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatises the years of reconciliation with her mother, who she preferred to call “Lady”, revealing the love that developed between them over the years, a love that was the foundation of Angelou’s rise to the literary heights.
Please Look After Mom
Author: Kyung-Sook Shin
Publisher: Knopf, fiction
South Korean author Kyung-Sook Shin’s book won the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize when it was translated into English. The story of a devoted mum who travels from her rural home to visit her busy kids in Seoul and disappears in a crowded train station was a bestseller not only in South Korea but around the world, including here in Malaysia.
The tale unfolds through different perspectives – the missing mother herself and her son, daughter and husband – as each person in the family confronts the tragedies and comforts of being bound together.
Shin has been quoted as saying that “If anyone wants to call his or her mother after reading this book, it would please me very much”.
She Walks In Beauty
Editor: Caroline Kennedy
Publisher: Voice, fiction
Inspired by her reflections on more than half a century of life, the only surviving child of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis offers a selection of poetry that explores and celebrates womanhood. These are the works that have inspired Caroline Kennedy at life’s milestones, as a daughter, a woman and a wife. Included are works by Anne Sexton, Dorothy Parker, Elizabeth Bishop, Edna St Vincent Millay, Mary Oliver, Sandra Cisneros, W.S. Merwin, W.B. Yeats and W.H. Auden. Kennedy is also the author and editor of 12 books on American history, politics and poetry. Kennedy is the current US Ambassador to Japan.
The Art Of Racing In The Rain
Author: Garth Stein
Publisher: HarperCollins, fiction
Enzo is a dog with a difference. He is a philosopher with a nearly human soul, a canine that has had an extensive television education and that learnt to be a good listener (mostly to his master, race car driver Denny Swift). The day before he dies, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling everything that he and his family have been through. Written from the perspective of that most loyal of four-legged companions, this touching, uplifting story of family, love and hope takes a long hard look at the wonders and absurdities of human life.
The Sense And Sensibility Screenplay And Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen’s Novel To Film
Authors: Emma Thompson & Jane Austen
Photographer: Clive Coote
Publisher: Newmarket Press, nonfiction
British actress Emma Thompson wrote the screenplay for the 1995 adaptation of the Austen novel – and won an Oscar for it, too. The movie itself was nominated for six other awards and appears on more than 100 top 10 all-time favourites lists around the world. This book includes the complete screenplay as well as Thompson’s diaries detailing the film’s production and what it was like to work with director Ang Lee and fellow actors Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman. Also included are 50 black and white photos by official set photographer Clive Coote.
The Course Of Love
Author: Alain de Botton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, fiction
Practical philosopher Alain de Botton is renowned for his many nonfiction books and essays; his first foray into fiction was Essays In Love way back in 1993. The Course Of Love, only his second novel, published this year, is also about love, this time framed in the relationship between married couple Rabih and Kirsten. What happens after that first spark, what does it take to maintain the spark under the pressures of raising children, just living life? And this being de Botton, woven into the engaging tale of Rabih and Kirsten’s life is an overlay of philosophy, of course. This book is, as one reviewer described it, “a sensory experience – fictional, philosophical, psychological – that urges us to identify deeply with these characters, and to reflect on his and her own experiences in love”.
The Rainbow Comes And Goes: A Mother And Son On Life, Love, And Loss
Authors: Anderson Cooper & Gloria Vanderbilt
Publisher: Harper, nonfiction
Broadcast journalism’s silver fox Anderson Cooper always had a close relationship with his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, heiress to the Vanderbilt fortune. Once he became a journalist, though, he didn’t have a lot of time to spend with her; but after she suffered a serious illness last year, he decided things had to change. Mother and son then began a year-long conversation through e-mail correspondence that is shared in this book. The surprisingly honest missives offer fascinating stories about two lives filled with triumphs and tragedies, tears and laughter. An engaging memoir that also imparts inspirational advice, this book is a celebration of the bond between a parent and child.
Worry With Mother: 101 Neuroses For The Modern Mama
Author: Francesca Hornak
Publisher: Portico, nonfiction
A mother’s worrying is never done, discovers first-time mother and Sunday Times columnist Francesca Hornak. There are the parenting books that contradict each other, the medical Googling that causes acute panic in the middle of the night, that perfect mother who balances home life and work effortlessly – modern parenting is madness! Hornak goes through the 101 worries that mothers everywhere experience on topics like toddlers throwing food, teens addicted to tech, and an imaginary friend called Neil. A bonus: the book is illustrated by renowned cartoonist Dorrance.